Legal Question in Employment Law in California

Suspension due to alleged theft

My daughter was placed on administrative leave for alleged theft. She works for an office supply company that uses coupons routinely when customers return empty ink/toner cartridges. A specific manager told her to use the coupon code for discounts when ringing up fellow employees and/or friends of fellow employees. She was accused of stealing $450 and was demanded to compensate the company or the police would be called and she would be prosecuted. She tried repeatedly for over an hour to explain she was doing this at the request of a manager to no avail. She never personally did it for herself, her friends/family. She was forced to sign a statement acknowledging said loss with another threat of arrest and prosecution. She has worked at the company for almost a year with wave reviews. She suspects she will be terminated when she returns to work as everyone else who did what this manager instructed was fired.

If fired, does she have a case for wrongful termination and coercion to sign the statement and give the company the $450? Does she have a right of reimbursement of the $450?

Asked on 6/27/09, 11:30 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

Terry A. Nelson Nelson & Lawless
0 users found helpful
0 attorneys agreed

Re: Suspension due to alleged theft

Let's see. She signed a confession to a crime, and she is an 'at will' employee. Yes, she will likely be fired for misconduct. If she was innocent, she shouldn't have signed a confession. She was not being tortured, merely questioned. However, the company stepped over the line when threatening to file criminal charges if she didn't pay. IF she can prove that, beyond her word against theirs, she technically has a claim of 'extortion' that might be effectively used in dealing with the company and the criminal charges that could/might be filed against her by the company. If she is serious about getting legal counsel, feel free to contact me. Tell her to stop talking to authorities without counsel.

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Answered on 6/29/09, 3:04 pm
Terry A. Nelson Nelson & Lawless
0 users found helpful
0 attorneys agreed

Re: Suspension due to alleged theft

Let's see. She signed a confession to a crime, and she is an 'at will' employee. Yes, she will likely be fired for misconduct. If she was innocent, she shouldn't have signed a confession. She was not being tortured, merely questioned. However, the company stepped over the line when threatening to file criminal charges if she didn't pay. IF she can prove that, beyond her word against theirs, she technically has a claim of 'extortion' that might be effectively used in dealing with the company and the criminal charges that could/might be filed against her by the company. If she is serious about getting legal counsel, feel free to contact me. Tell her to stop talking to authorities without counsel.

Read more
Answered on 6/29/09, 3:06 pm
Terry A. Nelson Nelson & Lawless
0 users found helpful
0 attorneys agreed

Re: Suspension due to alleged theft

Let's see. She signed a confession to a crime, and she is an 'at will' employee. Yes, she will likely be fired for misconduct. If she was innocent, she shouldn't have signed a confession. She was not being tortured, merely questioned. However, the company stepped over the line when threatening to file criminal charges if she didn't pay. IF she can prove that, beyond her word against theirs, she technically has a claim of 'extortion' that might be effectively used in dealing with the company and the criminal charges that could/might be filed against her by the company. If she is serious about getting legal counsel, feel free to contact me. Tell her to stop talking to authorities without counsel.

Read more
Answered on 6/29/09, 3:29 pm

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